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Hubs upset dreams pounded by Grams
Call it an exercise in press coverage.
Trailing by three to North Hagerstown at halftime, Boonsboro coach Clayton Anders chose not to talk tactics to his team.
Instead, he had one question for his squad: What do you want the headlines to read tomorrow?
"One of the things we talked about this week was that (North is) getting better, and if we allow them to have success early and hang around, we’re going to be in for a dogfight and that’s kind of how the first half played out," Anders said. "We talked at halftime — it really wasn’t X's and O's as much as, hey, figure out if you want to read the paper tomorrow and it says 'Hubs upset Boonsboro' or if you want to see 'Warriors have better second half and take control of the game' ... figure out which you want to read."
The Warriors took note and exploded for 27 unanswered second-half points behind a Herculean effort by fullback Zach Grams, going on to beat the Hubs 44-20 at Mike Callas Stadium on Friday.
The game was featured as the Baltimore Ravens RISE High School Showdown for the week. Each school's athletic department received $1,000, and the Ravens’ cheerleaders and mascot, Poe, were present. The players for each team also received a commemorative T-shirt.
Grams finished with 280 yards on 31 carries and three touchdowns, but a sizable chunk of that came in the pivotal third quarter. Grams had 14 carries for 143 yards and a touchdown in the quarter alone.
"I was really proud of the way they kind of exerted their will. One of our mantras is, if we get something going — tonight it was the off-tackle play — if a team can’t stop it, our mantra is we’re going to run it until they show they can stop it. If they can’t stop it, they’re going to get a steady dose of it," Anders said. "Grams has a low center of gravity, big, thick kid, strong, quick ... for those 180-pound kids in the second level, that’s a tough tackle. If a guy gets a run on you and he’s 230 pounds, it’s pretty tough."
The game didn't get off to the start that Grams and the Warriors (6-1) envisioned, as the senior fumbled the ball on the North 1, which Keayon Campbell recovered for a touchback. On the Warriors' next drive, Jacob Hardy had an 11-yard touchdown called back on a penalty. The Warriors had to settle for a Ben Burgan 25-yard field goal for the only points of the first quarter.
Naturally, the second quarter was an explosive one, with North (1-6) and Boonsboro trading blows drive after drive. Chase Metz burned down the Boonsboro sideline for a 37-yard touchdown to put the Hubs up 7-3, but the Warriors answered with a six-play scoring drive, punctuated by Grams’ 14-yard touchdown with 9:18 left in the quarter.
On North’s next play from scrimmage, Scott Neal found Ben Stottlemyer for a 70-yard touchdown catch in which the senior back bounced off a couple Warriors defenders and outran the rest for a 14-9 lead. Boonsboro responded again after Keegan Bowles’ 21-yard touchdown capped off another quick scoring drive for the Warriors, and the Hubs took nearly seven minutes off the clock with their following possession. However, they came up empty-handed after Neal’s fumble just before the goal line, which was initially signaled as a touchdown by the far sideline official.
"We thought he had broken the plane and scored because we saw that signal for a touchdown," North coach Greg Stains said, adding that his vantage point from the sideline made it hard to see exactly what happened. "They wouldn't discuss it with me and tell me what happened, but they marked the ball at the six-inch line so you just gotta assume that the officials are right."
Starting from their 1, the Warriors moved it to the 21-yard line, but Rayvaughn Dillard's interception gave the Hubs a short field at the Boonsboro 30. Four plays later, Stottlemyer punched it in from 2 yards to give the Hubs a 20-17 lead with 18 seconds left in the half.
"First half we were able to move the ball but we stopped ourselves a couple times. They also hit some big plays, which we were concerned that they would, and they moved the ball as well. The thing that we talked about all week was that North has some athletes," Anders said. "They’ve got some fast people, they’ve got some big people, and they’re going to make some plays if we don’t tackle in space. So we had some concerns coming in."
Any visions of an upset the Hubs might have had were vanquished by the ground game of the Warriors.
After the Hubs opened with a three-and-out series, Grams rushed for 71 yards on five carries on the next drive that was capped off by a Brooks Keller 3-yard touchdown run. Grams added 63 yards on the next drive and added a touchdown to make it 30-20 Boonsboro.
Keegan Bowles picked off Neal on the next possession, and Grams’ third touchdown of the night punctuated a six-play, 55-yard, all-Grams drive to make it 37-20 Boonsboro at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
"He’s a rumblin’, stumblin’ guy. He had 140 yards in the third quarter alone. You know it’s coming, but you gotta be able to stop it," Stains said.
Bowles, who had 66 rushing yards and 55 receiving yards, added his second rushing touchdown with 7:38 left in the fourth quarter for a 44-20 lead.
Boonsboro defeats JV Hubs in wild shootout, 68-42
North tried to stay with Boonsboro as quarterback Ryan Clark put up some eye-popping numbers. Clark went 29-for-43 for 352 yards and four touchdowns in the air, while rushing 17 times for 100 yards and two more scores. The sophomore signal caller is the first player in school history to throw for 300+ yards in a single game at any level, while also setting the program record for completions and attempts in a game.
Hunter Keller and Jasiah Wing set the JV single game record for receptions with eight each, while Baily Wilson was right behind with seven catches. Wing led the way with 102 receiving yards and two TDs, Wilson had 86 yards, Grant Anderson chipped in 76 yards and Keller had 52 yards and two TDs.
The JV Hubs racked up 491 yards of total offense, 23 first downs and 6 TDs in the loss, while Boonsboro had 437 yards, all coming on the ground and scored 9 TDs.
Isaiah McElroy led the defense with seven tackles and Baily Wilson recovered a fumble
Wildcats have a Ball against Hubs
That play sums up how well Ball and the rest of the Wildcats offense played Friday night when they traveled to North Hagerstown and spoiled the Hubs’ homecoming with a 35-22 victory.
“He’s a player. He does a great job and knows the offense very well,” Williamsport coach Tim Small said about Ball. “He’s great leader for us and it was great to see him come out and play so well with so much energy.”
Ball had a wildly productive evening, completing 8 of 16 passes for 126 yards and four touchdowns, while showing off his athleticism by earning 102 yards on the ground.
Williamsport (3-3) came out strong in the first quarter, using a methodical pace to get down field and score on a 15-yard throw from Ball to Jeremy Snow for a 6-0 lead.
The Wildcats' defense and special teams then stepped up, forcing a three-and-out on the Hubs' first possession and blocking the punt, which Jake Arnone took to the house to extend the lead to 14-0 after a successful two-point conversion.
Arnone recovered a fumble on North's second drive and Ball again took advantage, this time finding Hamburg for his first of two touchdown receptions and giving the Wildcats a 22-0 lead in the first quarter.
“We exploded out the gate, which was a goal of ours,” Small said. “I was really excited after the week of practice we had because these county games are very special.”
Nearing the end of the first half, Williamsport marched back down the field and extended the lead to 28-3 when Ball connected with Arnone for another score.
North (1-5) pushed the tempo in the second half, blazing down the field on its first drive, which was sparked by a 27-yard quarterback draw by Scott Neal that eventually set up a Ben Stottlemyer 3-yard touchdown run.
Following Ball’s impressive fourth-down touchdown throw, the Hubs answered with a 95-yard drive, highlighted by a 29-yard run by Neal and a 31-yard touchdown run by Stottlemyer that closed the gap to 35-16.
Neal linked up with Seth Hartman in the back corner of the end zone for the Hubs' final score and finished the day 8 for 17 for 121 yards and a touchdown, while adding 98 rushing yards.
Clark leads JV Hubs to second straight win, 36-22, over Cats
Williamsport, MD---Quarterback Ryan Clark was a near perfect 14-for-16 passing for 270 yards and three TDs, while running 14 times for 70 yards and another score in the JV Hubs 36-22 over undefeated Williamsport on Wednesday evening.
Baily Wilson got the scoring started in the first quarter with a 59-yard TD grab from Clark on the third play from scrimmage for North. Clark added a TD run and a conversion run to tie the game at 14 heading to the break.
After a tight first half, the JV Hubs offense got rolling---scoring three straight touchdowns en route to their second straight win. The North offense rolled up 404 total yards and five TDs.
Clark hit receiver Hunter Keller on two straight scoring strikes, then fullback Isaiah McElroy powered into the end zone from nine yards out to seal the victory.
Keller had six catches for 113 yards and two TDs, Wilson had three grabs for 81 yards and TD and Nick Bryden had 76 total yards for the Hubs.
Jasiah Wing and Jaynaz Melendez had a conversion catch each.
McElroy and Owen Strite led the defense with eight tackles each, while Ira Roberts had seven tackles and a fumble recovery. Wing added five tackles and an interception.
Lincoln Ball ran for two scores and threw for another for Williamsport (3-1) in the loss.
North (2-3) travels to Boonsboro (5-1) next Wednesday for a 5PM kickoff.
Stottlemyer's four TDs leads Hubs to first win
SMITHSBURG — Ben Stottlemyer had tears in his eyes on Friday.
It probably wasn't the first time the North Hagerstown senior got emotional in his high school football career.
Often those tears were combined with the sweat that comes after working hard, only to lose. But this time, it was different.
"This is the first high school victory," Stottlemyer exclaimed as he hugged North Hagerstown coach Greg Stains.
Stottlemyer did most of the damage for the Hubs. The senior ran for 95 yards and four touchdowns to lead North past Smithsburg 31-6 for its first victory of the season while ruining the Leopards' Senior Day.
"This is an amazing feeling," said Stottlemyer, who scored on runs of 8, 2, 2 and 25 yards. "The offensive line pushed and the receivers blocked to create holes. I didn't have to do anything. They did the rest. And the D-line did its job. It all came together."
It was a bit of a unique feeling, considering it was only the Hubs' second win in the last 26 games. Stottlemyer missed that one — a 42-12 victory over Frederick on Oct. 12, 2015 — because of injury.
"That about says it all," said Stains, motioning over to Stottlemyer.
The Hubs (1-4) and Leopards (0-5) battled in misty conditions on a soggy field, which turned the game into a taffy pull.
North took a 6-0 lead on its first possession as Stottlemyer capped a 67-yard drive with an 8-yard run over right tackle.
Quarterback Scott Neal doubled the advantage with a 72-yard run midway through the second quarter, giving the Hubs their biggest lead of the season.
North led 12-0 until the last 11.6 seconds of the first half, when Smithsburg scored on an 8-yard halfback pass from Colby Johnson to Kade Knodle to tighten the score to 12-6 at intermission.
The Leopards went to the locker room feeling like they had North — a team that had only led briefly in its first four games — right where they wanted it.
"We were moving the ball well and we were getting good things out of the offense," said Smithsburg coach Steve Lindsay. "We made some self-inflicted mistakes. We felt like we had the momentum."
Smithsburg kicked off to start the second half and looked for a three-and-out defensive stand to take control of the game.
The Hubs didn't oblige. Instead, North unloaded a 13-play, 68-yard drive that lasted 5:13. It culminated with Stottlemyer's first 2-yard TD for an 18-6 lead, and let all the air out of Smithsburg's balloon.
"It was our first halftime lead," Stains said. "I only said a few words. They took care of business. We wanted to come out and score to start the second half. We needed that."
It just rolled from there as North's confidence grew and Smithsburg's waned.
The Hubs iced the game on their next two drives — one time-consuming, the other quick-hitting.
North scored to cap a 10-play drive that crossed over into the fourth quarter, with Stottlemyer getting his second TD from the 2.
The Hubs put it away on the next possession as Neal broke loose for 28 yards before Stottlemyer swept down the right sideline for the 25-yard score and a 31-6 lead with 6:05 remaining.
"The kids came out today and knew what they had to do," Stains said. "They started a little slow because they were unsure about the pitch in Smithsburg's option, but once they realized they could rely on the help over the top, they knew their jobs.
"Coming out in the second half and scoring took away the feelings that, 'Here we go again,' and they started to believe."
Stottlemyer was skeptical.
"I waited until the clock reached :00 before I believed it," he said.
Smithsburg tried to pierce the center of North's defense but had little success. The Leopards were able to go wide some, but ill-placed negative yardage plays and three lost fumbles took them out of the game.
"It's just frustrating," Lindsay said. "That's two weeks in a row that we went into the half feeling we had control of the game. Then we go out in the second half and start falling."
Smithsburg managed 146 yards of offense, led by Zach Brown with 36 yards rushing, while quarterback Noah George added 25 yards running and 35 passing.
Neal led North's offense with 126 yards rushing and 77 yards passing as the Hubs rolled up 301 yards and controlled the time of possession.
"They took care of business and got the win," Stains said. "The season starts over again on Monday."
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